Read Daniel 3
Submit to the Government, Unless…
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). When Paul wrote these words to the church at Rome, he referred to matters that do not conflict with the faith. Today, this verse may be summed up in six words: “Obey the laws of the land.”
There is an exception to that rule, however. When a government decrees that you disobey God, do not submit to that decree. This is the situation in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego found themselves in Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar made a great golden image and ordered that all should worship that image. Those who disobeyed the king’s order would be thrown into the fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, as faithful servants of God, had no choice but to disobey the king. Word of their rebellion reached the king, and he reacted with “rage and fury” (Daniel 3:13). He brought the three men before him, recounted the accusation against them, and gave them a second chance to bow down or be burned alive.
These men responded, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
Those who have read this account are well aware of the outcome: God’s servants were thrown into the fire but not burned. In fact, when the king looked into the furnace, he saw not only these three, but a fourth man whose “form…is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25). The king acknowledged the power of the God of Israel, saying “there is no other God who can deliver like this” (Daniel 3:29).
When the government tells you to do something, do it—unless doing it is a violation of God’s higher law.